Bridge to Shared Governance: Developing Leadership of Frontline Nurses

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Abstract

Transforming health care systems to improve quality is the responsibility of nurse executives and frontline nurses alike, yet frontline nurses are often ill-prepared to share leadership and accountability needed for transformation. The aim of this qualitative study was to describe the process used to build leadership capacity of frontline nurses engaged in resolving operational failures interrupting nursing care. The leadership development process served to bridge staff transition to shared governance. This institutional review board–approved qualitative research was designed to identify the effects of mentoring by the chief nursing officer and faculty partners on leadership development of frontline nurses working to find solutions to operational failures. Twelve nurses from 4 medical surgical units participated in a Frontline Innovations' nurse-led interdisciplinary group, which met over 18 months. Transcriptions of audiotaped meetings were analyzed for emerging process and outcome themes. The transcripts revealed a robust leadership development journey of frontline nurses engaged in process improvement. Themes that emerged from the mentoring process included engagement, collaboration, empowerment, confidence, and lifelong learning. The mentoring process provided frontline nurses the leadership foundation necessary to initiate shared governance.

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